WHat I Believe

Cady - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on March 2, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

What I Believe

By Cady P

I am capricious; I am a teenager. I do not believe in insipid smiles, bland conversations, or boring tea-parties. I enjoy distinction. Perhaps that is the reason I am as fickle as the weather. I may appear reserved, but I wear no facade. I believe in raw and unique opinion and individuality.

I like to express my difference with clothes. The other day, I was out shopping with my friends and bumped into a young girl, no older than 13, with her mother. The girl pulls out one shirt with a bare midriff and bolts to the dressing room to try it on. Moments later she comes out with this “shirt”, which I think is nothing more than a scant piece of fabric, and she asks her mom if she can buy it. Just looking at her I think to myself: Here’s this pre-teen girl exposing her stomach, which audience is she intending to appeal to? Her mom responds, in a more collected tone than I would have ever managed: “Sorry honey, I don’t think this shirt is appropriate for a girl your age.” The girl erupts.“What would you know about fashion! What’s ‘in’ and what’s not, it’s all just rant isn’t it? Because the things I care about don’t matter to you!” I laugh to myself–is she being serious? She continued with her bellowing for a good five minutes, but what caught my attention was what she used as justification for buying the shirt. Embodied in her argument was the phrase: “but everybody’s got it!”Because everybody’s got these shoes, or these clothes, is not reason why another must have them as well.

We should have our own style and opinions, and we shouldn’t be scared if they’re different. Are people so afraid of becoming a pariah that we must corset our broadening opinions, to fit the waist of society’s narrow “ideals”? We should be able to make our own choices, establish our own honest convictions. A philosopher named Aristotle once said “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” I agree with him; I am on that quest of discovering who I am. There is no need in traipsing behind trends or fawning over sickly-thin young models who may suffer from anorexia nervosa. As a sixteen-year-old, I say: Go eat a cake! Calories, shmalories. Although this may sound cliché, we are all different; our raison d’etre is not the same as the person nearest you. Instead of following the latest fad, pop your collar to something more you.